Some months back, not all that many actually, a few cider makers gathered for a hang in the bucolic lairs of Poverty Lane Orchards, home of fancy cider fruit and delectable Farnum Hill Ciders. There was talk about the biz, sharing of ciders, and constructive discourse about the lay of the land for different layers of the cider market in the the United States.
One thing that struck us at the meeting was the general consensus among us, that only a tiny sliver of folks actually understand the differences between ciders. And that drier ciders made in a wine-style fashion with fruit grown for the purpose of making cider seemed pretty new to the vast amount of consumers. On a positive note though, there was also agreement among the table that these newbies were growing fast, and that there was a growing hunger and appreciation for these drier ciders.
So how do we help educate consumers and folks in the trade about these more orchard-based ciders? We came up with the idea of showcasing the work of top cider makers, in an easy package, at a price point that doesn’t break the bank. And thus “Cider Grown” was born. Again not all that long ago.
So what the heck is “Cider Grown”? Well you can visit the shiny new website for more info (www.cidergrown.com) but in the meantime I can rattle off the bullet points.
The Cider Grown philosophy: Orchards + Patience make Cider Grown Ciders. Basically, choose the right fruit, in this case apples high in tannins, acidity, and sugar. Press this fruit when fully ripe and ferment with care. Allow aging for flavors and complexity. The same approach a winemaker takes when harvesting grapes. Except their bottles sometimes sell for $100/bottle for some of the exclusive wineries.
The first release from Cider Grown is a “Cider Grown New England” collaboration. This initial offering showcases three like-minded cideries in New England: Farnum Hill Ciders (NH), Eden Specialty Ciders (VT), and Stormalong (MA). We all put together blends of our ciders that we felt showcased the cider fruit we have been espousing. These ciders were then canned and organized into 4 packs. One can from each cider maker, with the 4th can being a blend from all three cideries.
The stuff has been a constant in my fridge, and I would encourage you to grab a 4 pack where you can. It’s a limited release, and these ciders are all one-of-a-kind. Grab a 4 pack and share it amongst friends. That’s the best way, it allows you to taste the differences between the 4 cans in a more profound manner. You can start to understand and taste the nuances of the apple blends and techniques.
For those in the NYC area, feel free to join us Friday night, Oct 27th at Wassail in Manhattan. We’ll have samples of Cider Grown for your tasting pleasure with a great group of folks and cider centrics in house. All of us Stormalong lads will be there, as well as Mr. Steve Wood and Eleanor Leger of Eden fame. WASSAIL!